VAMPIRE CAMP

2 Stars
Year Released: 2013
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 78 minutes
Click to Expand Credits:

World renowned vampire killer Professor Bartholomew Dubbs (Scott Ford) is running a workshop on how to slay vampires, and his class is full… of vampires who want their revenge. Despite his pedigree and experience with the bloodsuckers, Dubbs remains ignorant of the dangers of his position, even as his assistants Eddie (David Salsa) and Skip (Zach Meyer), and new chef Emily, who is really an aspiring vampire hunter named Samantha (Danielle Kelly), try their best to warn him. Will the professor realize what’s going on, or will the leader of the vampires, Camelia Bumbescu (Cat Gould), get her revenge for the loss of her love at the hands of Dubbs’ ancestor?

Vampire Camp aims for campy, madcap and silly, and it succeeds. There’s little, if anything, in this film to be taken seriously. From the cartoon sound effects to the often perverse humor to the musical numbers, it’s the type of film that you appreciate because you want something unapologetic in its camp.

Honestly, it’s challenging even to critique because it’s often difficult to figure out if something that would be considered a goof or a mistake in another film isn’t done on purpose here. For example, the door of Professor Dubbs’ office proclaims it the “Institute for Vampire Slaying,” only often it is referred to as the “Institute for Vampire Killing” or even the “Dubbs Institute for Fighting Vampires.” Now, in any other movie I’d figure the filmmakers couldn’t keep straight what they were doing; here, though, considering there’s another running gag with the name of an assistant that constantly changes, it’s hard to tell.

I mean, the film even includes an impromptu advertisement for Vampire Camp merch midway through, so all bets are off. Simply, it knows what it is and doesn’t pretend to be something else. The editing is rough, the visuals can be good looking one second and awkward the next. Sound can be right on, and then challenging to endure. It has a low budget, highly amateur mood overall, with just enough highlights here and there to make it better than a trainwreck. The fact that it commits to what it is and then runs in campy circles is the only thing that gives it charm enough to experience.

Then again, some things, even if on purpose, do not work within the goofy world the film creates. For example, a poster for another film by filmmaker Ray Nomoto Robison can be seen in the background of several scenes, as can a framed film festival audience award certificate. Changing the names of characters and other elements of the film I can accept, but working in references to previous films that really have no connection to the “story” of this one… that’s just too much.

Overall, this is the type of film that has a goofy vibe you’re either into or you’re not. If you don’t find weak one-liners and sudden musical numbers entertaining, or don’t like films that don’t really tell a story so much as set up a premise and then just fill it with silly, then this isn’t for you. I didn’t mind it, for the most part, but even I like to see a point to the narrative, and I didn’t find one here, which made the film feel way too long at even 70-something minutes. I don’t think this is a good movie, but I also don’t think it’s all-the-way awful. Again, there’s charm here, but it is in short supply.

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Posted on March 26, 2013 in Reviews by
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